Victoria Avenue Children’s Centre is a council-run centre located in the Sydney suburb of Concord West. We have a strong team of 14 staff, some of which have been here since the centre opened in 2016. The service is part of a precinct which includes an early childhood health service, a primary school and Victoria Avenue Children’s Centre. We are located in a suburban oasis with Bicentennial Park at our doorstep, a train station, and local shops only a short walk away. This provides an opportunity to connect strongly with our local community and to be true active advocates for education.
During a staff meeting a few weeks before Child Protection Week, the team combined many ideas to create a week of experiences to engage children, families and the community and build awareness around this topic. The educators developed ideas on how to embrace our local community and asked them for support in helping to spread this important message. We decided that the best way to do this would be to create a poster that we could hand out to local stores, train stations, schools, and health centres to display the message.
After discussing the meaning and importance of Child Protection Week with the children, we handed over the creative side of the project to them. We engaged the children in multiple brainstorms that brought forward many great responses:
“Let’s draw us; people can protect us!” responded one child.
I asked the children how we could be protected, and another child promptly responded:
“In a house!”
And so we had our first idea for our poster creation.
The children sat down as a group and drew some self-portraits. These self-portraits were scanned and used as the core image of our poster. Then, with the help of some digital technology, the educators pulled all the images into a collage with creative input from the children. This included choosing the colours and agreeing on the message.
We asked the children what messages the poster should convey.
“We need people to look after us, so we need to ask them to do that!” said one child passionately.
We refined the question to “Will you help keep me safe?” and placed it as a key personal message from the children within our poster. Below you can see the finished poster:
Spreading the message to or local community
Once our poster was complete, we chose a special day within Child Protection Week to embark on a local community walk. Our class ventured off together with the help of family volunteers. We stopped at each shop, and together the children asked our key question: “Will you help keep us safe?” before handing a poster over to the community members.
Sharing our posters at the local post office
It was important that an educator confidently supported the children in explaining why we were venturing out and what we were hoping to achieve. On our excursion, we shared posters with the following community services: the local train station, supermarket, physiotherapy clinic, public school, cafés, the post office and health services. All services happily agreed to display our posters.
Sharing the posters at our local train station
We are so fortunate to have the support of our fantastic families; some volunteers joined various children’s rooms in book readings, completing the five safety network artworks to bring into the service, and even attended excursions to our local community.
I truly believe that our actions helped our local community to support and understand the importance of Child Protection Week. This entire project kept us all engaged for a total of six weeks, with multiple learning areas encountered. I am happy to say that the children were confident in their creation and in sharing this valuable message.
CELA via Amplify! Implementing the Child Safe Standards at St Luke's Preschool Dapto, October 2022
Office of the Children’s Guardian: A Guide to the Child Safe Standards, 2021
NAPCAN: Get Involved - National Child Protection Week, 2022
Professional Development relating to this topic:
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